Zumba Thanksgiving with Heather

Thanksgiving morning is the true gym-goers test of commitment.  You look around to see who is really all-in, checking to observe if the regulars who are there every weekday are still going to show up.

I was there at 5 AM and saw only a few of “the usuals”, and had conflicting thoughts:

Thought #1

Slackers.  Am I the only one who is committed here?  Where are they?  Oh well, back to my sets and reps.

Thought #2

What the heck am I doing here?  Why didn’t I sleep in?  They are probably keeping a Promise to themselves to rest and recover and will be back at it tomorrow.  Maybe I should have, too.


Truth is this: Black Friday (the next day) I could not go to the gym.  I would assume now the tables had turned and they wondered where I was…

The Promise cuts both ways.

Friday I woke up in absolute soreness at a level I haven’t experienced in years.  I overdid it on Thanksgiving…and no, I’m not talking about eating poorly and filling myself to death with carbs, sugar, and such, although I did enjoy the best meal I’ve had in a long time.  I hope you had a great one, too!

You see, Thanksgiving Day I did my 5 AM gym workout, and then drove across the Salt Lake Valley to join my sister, Heather, who runs a Zumba class for anyone who wants to come from her neighborhood, but on Turkey Day opens it up to everyone, including dads and kids, at 9 AM.

She has done her Zumba classes for over a decade, and has extreme & passionate followers.  Raving fans.  People who see her as a gift to the community, since she does this as a free service for moms, at the church, multiple times per week.

I have known she does this class and have heard about her ability to push people, but I had never been front and center to a class like this before.

Arriving in my sweaty gym outfit from my own strength training, I was already sore having done leg day the day before, and was practically limping from that pain, but knew this would just be a simple Zumba class.

I took my spot dead center, 2nd row, surrounded by moms, a few unsuspecting dads, a gym full of over 50 people, as my youngest sister, Haylee, stood next to me and warned me by saying, “Jason, this is going to be intense.”  I chuckled, as I do an intense workout every morning.

And then, like some workout montage from an 80’s movie, the lights shifted and Heather emerged from the curtain of the church stage in slow motion, turned on the music, the moms screamed with glee, and the workout began.

I hung in there through the first 3 songs.

I was like Chris Farley in a Chippendales SNL skit as I peeled layer after layer off: jacket, sweatshirt, hoodie.  I was down to a soaked USA T-shirt and thinking, “How are these moms doing this workout?” as they danced, jumped, kicked, yelped, and flung their arms with glee.

My sister had woman after woman join her for various songs, as they demonstrated variations on the workouts for each song.  My heart was beating as if I were running up a mountain, my legs were screaming what are you doing to us, and I could see the other dads feeling the same level of confusion and pain.

How were these women doing this?  At this level?  How do they know every step, jump, move, and how are they not slowing down?

I checked my watch and realized we were only 20 minutes in, when my pride insisted I had to stick it out for the full hour.

As I watched my sister lead this class, laughing, clapping, doing the moves so exaggerated and excited, bounding, spinning, hitting and kicking, screaming for us to keep going, I wasn’t sure if it was sweat or tears in my eyes.

Both from pain and from an intense pride of watching my sister live her Promise.

She displayed some of her many Signature Moves that make her incredible:

Smiling and being Joyful

Making us Laugh

Her Energy

Her Passion for Music

Her Leadership

Her Memorization of Dance Moves and Song Lyrics (as she lip-synced along)

Her Boundless Enthusiasm for each Dance Move and Each Person to Succeed

Her Commitment Level to Teaching and being Entertaining

Her Voice as she yelled for us to keep going!

She is a Mother of 6 children, races around all day with her little ones from practice to practice, keeps her family fed, house clean, neighbors cared for, and supports her successful husband in his work in the community and business.

And here she is teaching a free Zumba class with those in the audience loving every minute of it.



As I suffered to keep up, and I did, from music by Britney Spears to The Weeknd, it was a blast.  At the end of each song there was a yelp of joy from the women who were ready for the next fun song, while the men looked at heart rate monitors to check if a heart attack had hit yet.

After we came to 60 minutes I realized she was not going to stop.  I finally needed a drink and to hit the restroom.

The group kept going for a total of 90 minutes.

I have no idea how they did it.  I just shuffled back and forth on the back row for the final 20 minutes, in awe of a room full of moms, and watching my acrobatic, joyful, living her full & best life sister on the stage.

Later that day we went to Heather’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  I passed out on the couch before we ate.

I am not sure how my sister does life at this level, but I am astounded by what I experienced from her on Thanksgiving Day.

As I think about how my day began – judging my fellow work-out mainstays who didn’t show up at the gym – and a few hours later seeing these moms that didn’t appear like they could out-Zumba-me, the day of gratitude and reflection came full circle, and this thought completed the day:

Everyone is Amazing.  

The guy who gets to the gym.

The guy who doesn’t.

The mom who does every burpee in the Zumba class.

The mom who can’t get to the Zumba class.

Everyone is pushing.

Everyone is trying.

Everyone is living at a level no one else can judge or be critical of…

Sometimes we just have to stop assuming we know what others are going through, underestimating their commitment level, and do our best, open our eyes, look around, and be amazed at what everyone else can do.

And if we try to keep up, we very well may be too sore to move the next day.


Final Thoughts:

#1 An Apology.

The Promise is aspirational and always has been.  It is a philosophy to aspire to greatness and higher living.

If you have ever felt judged or demeaned, less than or shame when reading my words, whether I’m serious or joking, I really am sorry.  That was never the intention.  In reality, no one breaks the Promise more than the author, that’s why I feel I can candidly write about it so often.  I hope you can feel that.


#2 A New Promise:

Less Judgment. 

I’m really crazy judgmental.  Yes, I have made a living for over 2 decades by observing others and making comedy from it, but that also puts me in a very precarious position when utilizing it as both comedy and teaching.

If you have felt judged by me I am sorry.

If you know me, or have read enough of my blog posts or my book, you know I judge myself pretty harshly as well, and that’s why the humor works.

I apologize if you’ve felt offended or judged unfairly.  It wasn’t meant to harm, it was meant to make us think about our own commitment level, and really I feel I’m the butt of the joke most of the time.

I promise to judge less, maybe not completely, but less harsh let’s say!

How about you?

What does this whole story make you think of for yourself? 

And if you’re wondering, yes, it’s Saturday morning and I can barely type, I am still just that sore 2 days later from Zumba.  How is it possible that I am in pain on my forearms, wrists, and even fingers?  I can barely sit up, my abs hurt so much.


~ Jason Hewlett 

Husband, Father, Writer, Hiker, Coach

  • Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Coach
  • World’s First & Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to teach the Power of Keeping Your Promise 
  • Founder of the Bunless Triple Patty Baconator Club (available only at Wendy’s drive-thru, along with heart monitor cuff test mandatory before ordering

Author of “The Promise To The One”



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14 thoughts on “Zumba Thanksgiving with Heather”

  1. What a riot. Good for Heather. She sounds like she would be your sister. It’s been several years since I have been to a Zumba class. You have motivated me to check into senior classes at my club where I am a part of Silver Sneakers ( for the older generation!!!!)
    I loved the music an I love to dance!

    You continue to be such a blessing!

  2. I’m here laughing out loud Jason! So funny and inspirational. Thank you for being so vulnerable and REAL! Also, for the message that everyone is truly doing what they can to be their best selves.

  3. Jason😭🙏 i love you so much and started to cry when i saw that you and haylee made the long trek to come support me!! I loved having you guys up front, and of course YOU have inspired my performing throughout my years teaching these classes! I think the world of you and anyone that has seen you perform knows there’s no one like you! Thank you for this sweet tribute! Love you dearly! 😭😭😭😭😭❤️ This made my cry dear sweet brother🥰❤️

    1. Heather – it really was an amazing experience to be there with you and to see what you have created. I’m very proud of you and love you. Thanksgiving dinner was incredible.

  4. I absolutely am so blessed to even be related to both of you Jason and Heather! Through the years you both have inspired me and blessed my life in so many ways! I am so thankful for both of you and your humor and beauty and kindness you have always showed me!
    -cousin Buffy

  5. Oh my gosh, your post is hysterical and touching at the same time, Jason. Envisioning your pain as you stood front and center cracked me up. But relating to judging others when we have no idea what’s prompted their different response or action really touched my heart. I love how your family supports one another at such an incredible level. You all are an inspiration. Thank you for taking the time to write this despite the agony you’re in!!

    1. Glad it could bring the laughs, Diana! And yes, I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family. Thankful you would take the time to comment.

  6. Thomas W Cantrell

    Jason ~ It is so cool how you respond to your readers’ comments. Not many have the heart connection with their people to do that.

    You d’man (d’ Raptor Man)!


    1. Thank you for saying so, my friend. I am extremely honored that anyone would read the posts, let alone take the time to comment. Means a great deal, and thankful you’re here!

  7. Hey Jason!

    Love this post, and really appreciate the apology and new promise.

    I don’t fall into the categories of needing either, but I love that you recognize others may, and you have the humility to do it.

    Finally, though I don’t get to read each and every blog you release, thank you for continuing to create fantastic content.


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